The Panamanian Cuisine has strong influences from Africa, Spain and its indigenous Native American population. There is a lot of similarity and overlap with some of our favourite famous foods of Colombia as well as several unique dishes we had never heard of before.
These are our 5 favourite Panamanian dishes we tried and loved during our big Latin American trip.
Sancocho de gallina Panameño: the national dish
Sancocho is a delicious, light chicken soup with potatoes, corn on the cob, culantro herb, yuca and plantains. Other ingredients often used include corn on the cob (mazorca), ñampi (a tropical root vegetable), hot sauce, chopped onions, garlic and oregano.
The traditional recipe of sancocho is from the Azuero region, but other regions have their own variations. For example, in the town of La Chorrera, it is referred to as ancocho chorrerano and is only made with free range chicken, onions, garlic, chili peppers, oregano and ñame. Whereas in the Chiriquí Province, it is called sancocho chiricano and it is made with squash, giving it a yellowish colour.
Due to the varied ingredients used to make a sancocho, it is often used as a metaphor for Panama’s racial diversity, showing that each different ingredient has just an important and equal role to play in the preparation of this very yummy dish. As such it is considered the national dish of Panama.